“Al Cassidy delivers a powerful and relatable book in Freeing Linhurst that will be memorable for children and adults alike.”
While this book is an excellent mystery for young adults and children, there are much more complex lessons and a very important undertone throughout the book. With the mental asylum at the center of the plot, as well as revelations about criminal treatment and disrespect for the mentally disabled, it is clear that this subject is close to author Al Cassidy’s heart.
The foreword of the book explains how the story is loosely based on his own childhood, and the institution that lay at the center of his own town. This book will serve as entertainment, but may also spread awareness of problems that still exist in the treatment of those with mental disabilities.
As a whole, the pacing of the book is solid, the characters are entertaining, and the plot is unpredictable. For a story targeted at young readers, it isn’t overly simplistic and the prose is well-edited. The personalities of the 9th graders are captured surprisingly well, as are their interactions and emotions during those developmental years. A mystery with a creepy mental institution at its center isn’t the most unique premise for a novel, but Cassidy paints his novel with colorful characters, and an important message.
The entire tale is exciting and mysterious, yet also gives readers plenty to think about once the last chapter comes to a close. Al Cassidy delivers a powerful and relatable book in Freeing Linhurst that will be memorable for children and adults alike.
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